Content Reviewed by an Essentials PetCare Veterinarian

Adopting a puppy can complete a lifelong dream for many people. You may feel like you’re always waiting on that next paycheck to make it possible. 

It’s true that puppies are a big responsibility, both in time and money, but it is possible to become a pet parent on a budget. You just need to focus on the essentials to keep your pet care costs reasonable. 

In other words, prioritize preventive care.

This is where vaccinations come in. Vaccinating your dog is the single most proactive step you can take to ensure their health and prevent costly illness care down the road. You might bristle at spending a chunk of money right at the outset, but it’s worth the investment.

You can expect to pay $25-75 for each vaccine at an established veterinarian practice, or you can opt for vaccination packages that lower the cost. You might bristle at spending this chunk of money right at the outset, but it’s worth the investment. 

Should You Get Your Puppy Vaccinated?

To start, let’s look at exactly how vaccines help keep your dog safe. 

Most work by introducing small bits of virus or bacteria to your dog’s immune system. These weakened vehicles of disease allow your dog’s immune system to develop antibodies before your dog ever truly gets sick. 

When the real disease shows up on their doorstep, they’re already poised to fight it. 

This is why vaccines are really cost-effective, when you think about it. Instead of having to go through multiple veterinarian visits for diagnosis and treatment, you pay for a few vaccines to avoid common, preventable diseases. 

Not to mention, of course, you spare your beloved canine friend all the suffering of being sick!

Which Shots Should You Get for Your Puppy?

 A veterinarian can help you decide which shots your puppy needs – and how soon. 

At Essentials PetCare, we take the guesswork out of choosing your pet’s puppy vaccines. We offer several vaccine packages for puppies. So you can pick the best fit for your pet.

Your veterinarian will consider several factors in your puppy’s life to determine the right vaccination course for them:

  • Age
  • Lifestyle
  • Vulnerabilities
  • Legal vaccine requirements in your state

It may help to understand the common diseases that call for vaccination.


This vaccine is most likely to be state-mandated. Why? Because rabies can spread from animals to humans through bites or saliva. 

If the virus takes hold enough to show symptoms, no effective treatment exists. It usually ends in death. Luckily, regular vaccination against rabies works well.


Parvo can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms as well as fever, which can lead to extreme, deadly dehydration. 

Like a virus in humans, there’s no cure. If your dog gets sick with parvo, it’s important to keep them hydrated and comfortable while battling this dangerous illness.

Unvaccinated dogs and young puppies are at high risk of contracting parvo. So vaccination is always recommended.


Another incurable disease, distemper, spreads through airborne or shared surface exposure (like food and water bowls). 

It causes a host of digestive and nervous system symptoms. And it is often lethal. Vaccination is highly recommended.

Canine Hepatitis

This very contagious virus can affect several of your dog’s major organs: liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, and eyes. 

Symptoms can run the gamut from mild to severe. And it doesn’t have a cure. This makes it another high priority for vaccination. You can often protect your dog from parvo, distemper, and canine hepatitis with a single vaccination.


Picked up through soil and water, some dogs show no symptoms at all from this bacteria. Others may experience general flu-like symptoms. 

At its worst, it can lead to organ damage, organ failure, and death. Like rabies, this disease can spread from pets to their human family members. So this vaccine is recommended for all dogs. 

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough encompasses a range of diseases that cause an upper respiratory infection. Often, several different infections combine to generate a harsh, dry cough. The name comes from how easily the cough spreads through dogs housed together in kennels. 

Typically, symptoms don’t become severe, although some cases do amount to greater discomfort, gastrointestinal suffering, or even death in dogs. 

The following viral or bacterial infections frequently contribute to kennel cough:

  • Canine parainfluenza
  • Canine Coronavirus (this virus is not related to COVID-19)
  • Adenovirus type-2
  • Bordetella

You may wonder why we haven’t brought up heartworms yet. It’s because no heartworm vaccine exists. Instead, your dog will need routine heartworm tests. Your dog will need regular medication to prevent heartworm throughout her life. Our veterinarian will set up your pet’s preventative care schedule, and we will send you reminders when it’s time to come in.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

  • 8 weeks: Distemper/Parvovirus Vaccine + Intestinal Parasite Test
  • 12 weeks: Distemper/Parvovirus Vaccine Second Round + Intestinal Parasite Test
  • 16 weeks: Distemper/Parvovirus Vaccine, Bordetella Vaccine, Rabies Vaccine(1-yr) +  Leptospirosis Vaccine + Dog Flu Vaccines

As we already mentioned, a veterinarian can help you decide how and when to vaccinate your puppy. The specific schedule for your pup may look a bit different.

Our biggest piece of advice: finish each course of vaccination that you start. In other words, if your pet’s first vaccines need boosters, make sure to follow through with the second round. Otherwise, your pet will not build proper immunity to the diseases. 

Keep in mind that Essentials PetCare offers vaccination packages to help you hit the essentials and keep costs down.

Will My Puppy Need More Shots as an Adult Dog?

You may stress thinking that you’ve started down a road of expensive medical maintenance. But most vaccines only need a booster every 1-3 years after puppyhood. 

We can help with that, too. Instead of paying the price of a full-service clinic, stop in to get only the shots and preventative care you need when they are due. Our affordable bundled packages for adult dogs makes it easy to choose the best fit for your furry friend.

Hopefully, vaccinating your canine family member feels more feasible now. We encourage you to invest early in your puppy’s wellbeing. It’ll pave the way for years of health to come. They’ll thank you the way dogs do – with unconditional love.

Essential Tip: View our affordable vaccination packages. Qualifying pet parents can also apply to pay over time on purchases of $150+. 


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